The Rogue River in southwest Oregon starts as a spring bursting from the slopes of the Cascade Mountains west of Crater Lake before flowing 215 miles to the Pacific Ocean.
At 5,300 feet, the headwaters of the Rogue flow from a spring on the west side of Crater Lake. Boundary Springs, the source of the Rogue River, emerges from the volcanic hillside as a burbling stream beginning its journey toward the Pacific Ocean.
From its headwaters at Boundary Springs, the Rogue tumbles through the volcanic legacy of the western slopes of the High Cascades and through the older Western Cascades near the town of Prospect, Oregon. Approximately 40 miles of the Upper Rogue are designated as a Wild & Scenic River from the boundary of Crater Lake National Park to the boundary of the Rogue River National Forest.
Downstream from where the South Fork of the Rogue flows into the main stem of the Rogue, the river begins to cut through the Klamath Mountains. The William L. Jess Dam, constructed in 1977 primarily for flood control, forms the Lost Creek Lake Reservoir.
As the Rogue winds its way through the Klamath Mountains, several large tributaries flow into the river. Bear Creek joins the Rogue just upstream from the city of Gold Hill and is the most urbanized area of the watershed. Bear Creek flows through the towns of Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Medford, and Central Point. Approximately half of the 3.3 million-acre watershed’s population lives along Bear Creek.
As the Rogue leaves the valley plateau near Grants Pass, Oregon, the river cuts a deep canyon through the geologically complex and remote Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains. Downstream from the city of Grants Pass, the Applegate River flows into the Rogue. Beginning at the confluence with the Applegate River, the Rogue is designated as a Wild & Scenic River for 84.5 miles downstream to the Lobster Creek Bridge. Near the town of Agness, Oregon, the Illinois River joins the Rogue. From the boundary of the Siskiyou National Forest downstream to its confluence with the Rogue, 50.4 miles of the Illinois are also designated as a Wild & Scenic River.
After its winding journey through the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains, the Rogue finally flows into the Pacific Ocean near the town of Gold Beach, Oregon, 215 miles from its source.
Rogue River Fast Facts
- Length of the River: 215 miles from source to sea
- Size of Basin: 3.3 million acres, 5100 square miles
- Population: Approx. 257,914
- Largest Tributary: The Illinois River. 56 miles long, 50 miles are Wild & Scenic
- Source: Boundary Springs
- Mouth: Gold Beach, Oregon
- Fish Species: Coho Salmon, Chinook Salmon, Steelhead, Green Sturgeon, Pacific Lamprey